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If a seagull flies over the sea, what flies over a bay? Go Forth and Science

It’s time to get your binoculars out and your birding hats on, we’re heading out into the field. In this episode, I’m in the San Juan Islands of Washington State, sailing through storms and looking for cool birds. Kevin, the resident birder of the trip, walks us through how to ID birds we’re unfamiliar with, tells us fun facts about sea birds, and even whistles his best bird call: a chickadee asking for a cheeseburger.
  1. If a seagull flies over the sea, what flies over a bay?
  2. The Zombie Apocalypse
  3. Earth Without Art is Just "Eh"
  4. Mama Shark… do do dodo do do
  5. Baby Shark… do do dodo do do
  6. To Bee or Not to Bee
  7. Filled to the Brim with Stone
  8. A Turn Around the Sun
  9. Ain't No Mountain High Enough
  10. On the Bright Side
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Episodes

Below, you can find information about each episode, including citations, show notes and photos from the interviewee’s adventures.

If a seagull flies over the sea, what flies over a bay?
The sailboat crew, aka birders, on one of the few sunny days of our trip. Photo by Kate Hruby
Watching sooty shearwaters and their unique flight patterns on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Photo by Kate Hruby
The Zombie Apocalypse
A before-and-after comparison of sea star habitat. The left image is before wasting disease hit the population, the right image is after wasting disease wiped out the population. Photos by Neil McDaniel.

“Ecosystems are complex webs, especially undersea ecosystems. We do the best we can with divers and observational experimental studies, but this is a massive change. It’s like the biggest experiment of the last hundred years.” -Dr. Drew Harvell

Earth Without Art is Just “Eh”
Jill Pelto on her way to one of their field sites in Washington State, under Mount Baker. Photo by Kate Hruby.
Jill and her sister hike into camp during a beautiful sunset in the Cascade mountains. Photo by Kate Hruby.
Mama Shark… do do dodo do do
Abby practicing her shark research methods in the daylight before she does it at night for her study. Photo from: University of Miami’s shark research lab
Abby taking her blood samples from the sharks and spinning them down to plasma on board her research boat. Photo from: University of Miami’s shark research lab
Baby Shark… do do dodo do do
Ben surfing off the coast of Washington State. Photo from: Troy, Monster and Sea
To Bee or Not to Bee
Filled to the Brim with Stone
Jesse: “I’ve wanted to be a geologist for longer than I can remember. I was a little kid and was like ‘I want to be a geochemist.'”. Photo from: Jesse Walters
Jesse travels all over the world to study rocks, and has made some fun animal friends along the way. Photo from: Jesse Walters
A Turn Around the Sun
Shenanigans in Maine with three of the episode’s guests, Mariama, Erin and Clara. Credit: Kate Hruby
  • A huge thanks to my past guests featured in this episode: Clara, Elaine, Tori, Heather, Mariama, Brad, Martha, Ryan, Breezy, Katie, Matt, Gaia, Jessie, Ren, Pam, Kevin, Erin and Briana.
  • And shoutout to my past guests whose interviews were so on-point that there weren’t any outtakes to feature: Kelly, Angela, and Michael.
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
Heather: As a member of an ice core drilling research team in Greenland, we scoped out areas on the Greenland ice sheet to drill a short core for investigating ice from the last interglacial period. Credit: Andrei Kurbatov
Heather: During our expedition to the Central Andes in Peru, we camped at the base of the Quelccaya ice cap (shown here) while preparing to drill an ice core from the summit. Credit: Mariusz Potocki
On the Bright Side
Peyto Lake in Banff National Park shows the bright blue-green color that comes from light reflecting off tiny sediment particles in the water. Credit: Brad Moser
A double rainbow visible from the top of a mountain in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. Credit: Brad Moser
Stuff You Otter Know
When asked what her favorite ocean adventure has been, Pam said “probably the last one! Because often the first one challenges us to do the next one and the next one.” Her latest adventure was kayaking in Greenland, pictured here. Credit: Pam Ferris-Olson
You can find Pam’s art at Women Mind the Water. This illustration by Pam is about the otter’s struggle in the last 50 years. Credit: Pam Ferris-Olson
  • Women Mind the Water website
  • Davis, R., et. al. 2019. Future direction in sea otter research and management. Frontiers in Marine Science; 5 (510): 1-16. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2018.00510
  • Hughes, B., et al. 2019. Species recovery and recolonization of past habitats: lessons for science and conservation from sea otters in estuaries. PeerJ; 1-30
  • Jones, T., Culleton, B., Larson, S., Mellinger, S., Porcasi, J. 2011. Toward a prehistory of the southern sea otter. Chapter 11 of Human and Marine Ecosystems: Archaeology and Historical Ecology of Northeastern Pacific Seals, Sea Lions, and Sea Otters; 243-272
Getting Our Bearings
A momma grizzly and her cubs at Hidden Falls Hatchery, Baranof Island, Alaska. Credit: Jessie Mathews
Jessie in her element, talking about nature in her bear hat from the bow of a boat. Credit: Jessie Mathews
Greener on the Other Side
Tori at her job in DC as a congressional staffer. Credit: Tori Bahe
It’s a ShinDig
A Knightia eocaena fossil. Credit: Kate Hruby
A few of the fossils we uncovered in Wyoming. Credit: Kate Hruby
  • American Fossil, Dig Real Fossils: www.fishdig.com
  • Collareta, A., Gemelli, M., Varola, A., Bianucci, G. 2019. Trace fossils on a trace fossil: a vertebrate-bitten vertebrate coprolite from the Miocene of Italy. Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie; 293 (2): 117-126
  • Fossil Butte National Monument, National Park Service
  • Luo, M., Hu, S., Benton, M., Shi, G.R., Zhao, L., Huang, J., Song, H., Wen, W., Zhang, Q., Fang, Y., Huang, Y., Chen, Z. 2017. Taphonomy and palaeobiology of early Middle Triassic coprolites from the Luoping biota, southwest China: Implications for reconstruction of fossil food webs. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology; 474: 232-246
The Real Rock Stars
Comet Neowise seen from the Seattle waterfront. Credit: Kate Hruby

How many rights are left?
Crew of the sailing vessel Orion looking for right whales around Vancouver Island, Canada in 2017. Credit: Kevin Campion
The sailboat Orion on a quest to find the world’s rarest whale. Credit: Kevin Campion
Claim to Flame
A backyard bonfire created by the episode’s firefighting guest, Michael. Credit: Kate Hruby
  • Archibald, S., et al. 2018. Biological and geophysical feedbacks with fire in the Earth system. Environmental Research Letters; 13: 1-18
  • Fidelis, A. 2020. Is fire always the “bad guy”? Flora; 268: 1-3
  • Pausas, J.G. and Keeley, J.E. 2009. A burning story: the role of fire in the history of life. Bioscience; 59 (7): 593-601
  • Rogers, B.M., Balch, J.K., Goetz, S.J., Lehmann, C.E.R., Turetsky, M. 2020. Focus on changing fire regimes: interactions with climate, ecosystems and society. Environmental Research Letters; 15: 1-11
  • Scott, A.C. and Glasspool, I.J. 2006. The diversification of Paleozoic fire systems and fluctuation in atmospheric oxygen concentration. PNAS; 103(29): 10861-10865
An ImportAnt Topic
When Angela and I were traipsing through the Panamanian forests, we kept our eyes out for lines of leaf cutter ants. In the middle of this photo, you can see where there is a line in the dirt clear of debris where the ants frequently walk. Credit: Kate Hruby
To show us the ingenuity of these ants, our guide slammed his machete into their path. They just went right on around it. Credit: Kate Hruby
  • Angela’s Instagram: @angelaatsea
  • Banks, A.N., Srygley, R.B. 2003. Orientation by magnetic field in leaf-cutter ants, Atta colombica (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Ethology; 109: 835-846
  • Garrett, R.W., Carlson, K.A., Goggans, M.S., Nesson, M.H., Shepard, C.A., Schofield, R.M.S. 2015. Leaf processing behavior in Atta leafcutter ants: 90% of leaf cutting takes place inside nest, and ants select pieces that require less cutting. Royal Society Publishing; 3(150111): 1-12
  • Huang, CL., Fu, JT., Liu, YK., Cheng, DM., Zhang, ZX. 2015. The insecticidal and repellent activity of soil containing cinnamon leaf debris against red imported fire ant workers. Sociobiology; 62(1): 46-51
  • Koptur, S., Jones, I.M., Liu, H., Díaz-Castelazo, C. 2017. Playing the system: the impacts of invasive ants and plants on facultative ant-plant interactions. Ant-Plant Interactions: Impacts of Humans on Terrestrial Ecosystems, Ch. 12.
  • Kristiansen, S.M., Amelung, W. 2001. Abandoned anthills of Formica polyctena and soil heterogeneity in a temperate deciduous forest: morphology and organic matter composition. European Journal of Science; 52: 355-363
  • MacLean, H.J., Penick, C.A., Dunn, R.R., Diamond, S.E. 2017. Experimental winter warming modifies thermal performance and primes acorn ants for warm weather. Journal of Insect Physiology; 100: 77-81
Let’s Get Down to Pacifics
The plastic-collection system that Briana was studying while out in the Pacific Ocean… and an awesome rainbow. Credit: Briana Gibbs
The Ocean Cleanup research vessel that Briana was living on while conducting her research. Credit: Briana Gibbs
  • Bree’s blog: This Blog is Trash
  • Find a Species. NOAA Fisheries. www.fisheries.noaa.gov
  • Romanov, E., Jaquemet, S., Puetz, L. 2018. A giant squid (Architeuthis dux) off Reunion Island, western Indian Ocean: the greatest giant ever? Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom; 98 (8): 2087-2093
  • The Ocean Cleanup: theoceancleanup.com
Under Pressure
“There’s one picture of me just running towards the quarterdeck because the entire front of the boat is underwater.” Ryan in a storm off the California coast. Credit: Ryan Downs

Whatever Floats Your Boat
Kelly’s boat we adventured on the summer we almost took an unplanned dip in the ocean. Credit: Kelly Greenwood

Carrying the Extra Weight
My sis and her 11-month-old kid, on a hike we used to do when we were kids in Mt. Rainier National Park. Credit: Kate Hruby

Wood You Rather
  • Fernee, C., Mesel, T., Andersen, A.J.W., Gabrielsen, L.E. 2019. Therapy the natural way: a realist exploration of the wilderness therapy treatment process in adolescent mental health care in Norway. Qualitative Health Research; 29(9): 1358-1377.
  • National Park Service, Redwood National Park
  • Simard, S. 2018. Mycorrhizal networks facilitate tree communication, learning and memory. Chapter in Memory and Learning in Plants, Springer International Publishing; 192-213
  • Simard, S., Beiler, K.J., Bingham, M.A., Deslippe, J.R., Philip, L.J., Teste, F.P. 2012. Mycorrhizal networks: mechanisms, ecology and modelling. Fungal Biology Reviews; 26: 39-60
  • Stovall, A., Shugart, H., Yang, X. 2019. Tree height explains mortality risk during an intense drought. Nature Communications; 10(4385): 1-6
  • Tedersoo, L., Bahram, M., Zobel, M. 2020. How mycorrhizal associations drive plant population and community biology. Science; 367 (867): 1-9
One Ocean Waves To Another
  • Breezy SEAS website
  • Ebbesmeyer, C., Ingraham, W.J. Jr. 1992. Shoe spill in the North Pacific. Eos; 73(34): 361-368.
  • Ebbesmeyer, C., Ingraham, W.J. Jr. 1994. Pacific toy spill fuels ocean current pathways research. Eos; 75(37): 425-432.
  • Lebreton, L.C.M., Borrero, J.C. 2013. Modeling the transport and accumulation floating debris generated by the 11 March 2011 Tohoku tsunami. Marine Pollution Bulletin; 66: 53-58.
  • Wang, Y., Lee, Y., Chiu, I., Lin, Y., Chiu, H. 2020. Potent impacts of plastic nanomaterials and micromaterials of the food chain and human health. International Journal of Molecular Sciences; 21(1727): 1-14
We Can’t Kelp Ourselves
  • Food and Drug Administration, Carrageenan, 2020.
  • Filbee-Dexter, Karen., Pedersen, M.F., Frediksen, S., Norderhaug, K.M., Rinde, E., Kristiansen, T., Albretsen, J., Wernberg, T. 2020. Carbon export is facilitated by sea urchins transforming kelp detritus. Oecologia; 192: 213-225.
  • Koenighofer, Martin., Lion, T., Bodenteich, A., Prieschl-Grassauer, E., Grassauer, A., Unger, H., Mueller, C.A., Fazekas, T. 2014. Carrageenan nasal spray in virus confirmed common cold: individual patient data analysis of two randomized controlled trials. Multidisciplinary Respiratory Medicine; 9(1): 57.
  • Kriegisch N., Reeves S.E., Johnson C.R., Ling S.D. 2019. Top-down sea urchin overgrazing overwhelms bottom-up stimulation of kelp beds despite sediment enhancement. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology; 514-515: 48-58.
  • Necas, J., Bartosikova, L. 2013. Carrageenan: a review. Veterinarni Medicina; 58 (4): 187-205.
Whether it’s weather… or climate?
Mt. Logan in the St. Elias Mountains, Canada. Credit: Erin McConnell
Ice coring equipment at the glacier research field station. Credit: Erin McConnell
  • Mann, M.E., Rahmstorf, S., Kornbuber, K., Steinman, B.A., Miller, S.K., Coumou, D. 2017. Influence of anthropogenic climate change on planetary wave resonance and extreme weather events. Scientific Reports; 7: 1-10.
  • Erin’s Instagram: @theincredibasils
It’s Getting Shifty In Here
Hot springs in Yellowstone National Park. Credit: Kate Hruby
The Orca Pod
A male Biggs killer whale in British Columbia in 2009. Credit: Kate Hruby
  • Abramson, J., Hernández-Lloreda, V., García, L., Colmenares, F., Aboitiz, F., Call, J. 2018. Imitation of novel conspecific and human speech sounds in the killer whale (Orcinus orca). Royal Society Proceedings B; 285: 1-10
  • Bewhalewise.org. 2019. Act responsibly.
  • The Center for Whale Research. 2020. Southern Resident Orcas.
  • Filatova, O., Fedutin, I., Titova, O., Siviour, B., Burdin, A., Hoyt, E. 2016. White killer whales (Orcinus orca) in the western North Pacific. Aquatic Mammals; 42(3): 350-356
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada. 2020. Killer whale (Northeast Pacific Southern Resident Population).
  • Hanson, B., Walker, W. 2014. Trans-Pacific consumption of cephalopods by North Pacific Killer Whales (Orcinus orca). Aquatic Mammals; 40(3): 274-284
  • Holt, M., Hanson, B., Emmons, C., Haas, D., Giles, D., Hogan, J. 2019. Sounds associated with foraging and prey capture in individual fish-eating killer whales, Orcinus orca. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America; 146: 3475-3486
  • Reeves, R., Pitman, R.L., Ford, J.K.B. 2017. Orcinus orca. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017.
  • Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. 2020. Killer whale (orca) conservation and management.
It’s Super Cool – Part 2
Mariama on the top of Mt. Moore on the Juneau Icefield, Alaska. Credit: Mariama Dryak
It’s Super Cool – Part 1
Alpenglow on the mountains surrounding Jarvis Glacier, Alaska, in 2018. Credit: Kate Hruby